LETTER: Walter died on The Somme

The 8th Border ‘football’ team

The 8th Border ‘football’ team

First published in Opinion

Following your report about the Kendal First World War centenary play (Gazette, March 20), readers may be interested in documents I have received from Peter Shand, who lives in Canada, and is Sergeant Walter Dixon's great nephew.

They show Walter on the back row, extreme right of the 8th Border ‘football’ team. I suspect they mean ‘rugby football’.

Peter also sent Sgt Dixon’s medical record, which shows him as 5ft 81/2 inches tall, 150 lbs, and having a 37 inch chest.

He was probably more an average-sized man than a ‘big lad’ (as quoted in the article) in 1914.

Walter was a former Kendal grammar school pupil, an apprentice engineering draughtsman at Gilkes, and an early Kendal Rugby club player from 1907-14.

He was engaged to Alice Hodgson, of Bridge House, Kendal.

He died, aged 26, in July 1916, during the Kendal Pals’ first action on The Somme.

He has no known grave and is commemorated on the Thiepval memorial to the missing on The Somme.

His family owned a café/bakery, now Subway, in the Market Place.

There are two ‘Walter Dixons’ on Kendal war memorial, but they were not directly related.

Paul Bramham


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